Posts Tagged ‘newsroom’


Inside a Las Vegas Newsroom: PRSA Western District Conference 2011

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

las vegas welcomeLast week, in the midst of all the flooding here in southeast Missouri, I was fortunate enough to be able to get away to the desert for a few days and attend the PRSA Western District Conference. One of the sessions gave us an inside look into some of Las Vegas’ newsrooms through its panel: Emily Neilson, president/GM for 8 News NOW, Ken Ritter, staff writer for the Associated Press, and Bruce Spotleson, group publisher for Greenspun Media Group.  

It  wasn’t surprising to hear Spotleson state that journalists are multi-tasking these days, often reporting, blogging, producing video/audio, interacting on social media, and more. Ritter stated, in the AP newsroom, he’s also doing “news triage” – which results in his attention span being 30 seconds or 140 characters.  One point he made, that every public relations person should heed, was, “If you receive a call from us, pay attention!  This probably means the story is ready to go out on the wire and we need comment/confirmation – but it’s going with or without you!”

Neilson talked about online and mobile being the “wild wild west” of reporting and how “i-reporters” have iPhone video posted before a traditional journalist can even get to the scene. So, it’s increasingly important for journalists to not only report news, but engage the public and rely on them more and more. 

Neilson made a point of saying they [8 News Now] are NOT a “TV station” anymore but rather they are a local news organization that is platform agnostic.

She explains, that The Media must report the way consumers want, which entails speed, speed, speed, and then get depth of story out. Giving up control and unbundling of news services is, in her opinion, the most critical issue facing journalism right now. The value of eyeballs is very different now than ever before – they’re trading analog dollars for digital dimes. 

When asked what piece of advice she could give those of us in PR and media relations, she offered: “Do NOT write press releases for your client, instead write it for your neighbor – what would they want to know?”

I hadn’t quite heard it put that way before and think that’s great advice. Do you agree? What would you add? Please leave a comment below on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

5 Changes in Journalism and What They Mean for Public Relations

Friday, July 30th, 2010

PR Tips

Valerie Simon

1. Long is now shorter. Rand Morrison commented that “Long is shorter than it used to be,” at the Bulldog Reporter 2010 Media Relations Summit.

PR Takeaway: Be succinct. Understand your message and be able to share it in a compelling manner with a few key bullet points.

2. Slow is now faster. Stories break on Twitter live as events unfold. Getting a story right is challenged by an increase pressure to get it out. 

PR Takeaway: Anticipate journalists’  needs and serve as a valuable resource. Maintain an accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive online newsroom or press center.  A quick responses and immediate follow up is essential.

3. There is a need to be more resourceful with resources. Cuts in newsroom operations means that journalists are working longer hours, with heavier workloads and a heightened sense of concern regarding job security.

PR Takeaway: Passing along tips and information that will benefit the journalist (publication and readers), whether or not it is for a specific client, will be appreciated and help to build a strong relationship. Likewise, those who are able to help journalists save time by bringing together multiple resources have a distinct advantage. For this reason I am very intrigued with the concept behind Heather Whaling’s Pitch with me!

4. The brand of a journalist is not always limited to the publication. Many journalists now have Twitter handles, Facebook pages, and personal blogs.

PR Takeaway: There are now numerous opportunities to listen, engage, and build stronger relationships with influential journalists. 

5. Competition is more competitive. Social media has also increased the challenge of being the first to break a story or add a new and unique angle.

PR Takeaway: Exclusives are more valuable than ever. When you can’t offer an exclusive, consider whether you have a special angle or resource to pitch. What value can you offer the journalist to help him or her provide unique value to readers?

What other changes have you noticed in the field of journalism and how do they impact those who practice PR?

I Am Not Alone…and Other Things I Learned at the PR News Media Relations Forum

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Lindsay Nichols brings a broad range of public relations expertise to Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, helping clients build relationships with key audiences and influencers and sustaining awareness about their missions. In her nine year career, Lindsay has provided media relations, public affairs, grassroots marketing, crisis communications, and healthcare communications consulting to a variety of organizations focused on a variety of industries, including social purpose, advocacy, corporate, consumer, healthcare and legal.

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From left: Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce, Lynn Sweet, Howard Arenstein, Doug Stanlin

From left: Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce; Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau; Howard Arenstein, CBS Radio News; Doug Stanlin, On Deadline blog, USA Today.

This post first appeared on the @OgilvyPR blog, Social Marketing exCHANGE, June 29, 2010.

I’m clearly a geek, but I’m going to proudly say it: it’s an exciting time to be in media relations.

I started my career in media a decade ago and as the field has changed, the practice of getting key messages in front of target audiences via the media has only gotten more interesting. From crafting the story idea, to hearing the spark ignite for a reporter, to reading or listening or watching the final story unfold – the entire process is exhilarating. Social media has only broadened that landscape for me – I have more choices than ever to spread my clients’ messages and make an impact with the audiences that matter. And while media relations may seem more complex then the days when I used to thumb through a media directory book to find a reporter’s name and beat, in a lot of ways I find it much more strategic and exciting.

This geeky love I have for media relations was recently nourished when I was lucky enough to attend the PR News Media Relations Next Practices Forum as a guest of sponsor BurellesLuce. I got to hear from some of the best talent in the industry across all walks of PR life including corporate veterans Stephanie Anderson of OSRAM SYLVANIA and Ed Markey of Goodyear; consulting mavens Karen Hinton of Hinton Communications and Andrew Gilman of CommCore Consulting Group; and nonprofit leaders Laura Howe of the American National Red Cross and Glen Nowak with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; among others.

And – I can’t but help but show a little pride here – Ogilvy PR had a great client showing:  Mark Phillips of the USO and Colleen Wilber of America’s Promise Alliance both had wonderful insights to share. The keynote speaker was former Marriott spokesman and current Senior Director of Communications for Catholic Charities USA, Roger Conner, who shared his PR experiences both humorous and humbling.

The knowledge these speakers imparted was too much to share in detail, but some highlights were:

  • Think like a newsroom
  • Use social media to collect real-time feedback on the quality, tone and resonance of a conversation – listen constantly
  • Let others (volunteers, employees, customers or consumers) tell the story for you
  • Don’t script people – just teach them how to use social media tools effectively
  • Don’t tell media what the news is – just tell them what you have and how they can use it
  • Individuals as influencers are becoming increasingly important – never underestimate your audience
  • Say the full message: not just “go online,” but “go online and donate”
  • Mobile media is the next frontier in terms of location, platforms, video, social search, virtual collaboration and cloud computing
  • Before you spend any resources, make sure audience is there; speak the right language and understand who you’re trying to influence
  • Stop trying to control the message – just be part of the conversation
  • You must call media on their mistakes – they are working as fast as we are, and mistakes happen; it’s our job to give them the correct information
  • Claim as much real estate as you can on a TV screen – provide information for the lower-third/crawl, facts, b-roll, bulleted messages, etc.; have your spokesperson hold a prop
  • Your actions must match your words

One of my favorite parts of the forum, the “Media/PR Smackdown,” was a panel of well-respected and much sought-after journalists Howard Arenstein, Correspondent of CBS Radio News and CBS News Radio’s Washington, DC, Bureau Manager; Doug Stanglin, Editor of the “On Deadline” blog at USA Today; and Lynn Sweet, Columnist and Washington Bureau Chief of Chicago Sun-Times. They reinforced the tried and true of the media world – don’t call unless you know the reporter’s beat, you know your pitch fits perfectly with what they cover, you’ve already sent an email, and you have a personal relationship. But they also taught me a thing or two about how journalists have embraced the recent changes to the media relations landscape. Reporters love Twitter. I can’t emphasize that enough. They love it personally, and they love it professionally. Doug Stanglin uses his Twitter as a news aggregator. Reporters also love blogs – their own and others. They no longer have one deadline a day – they have them throughout the day. And they are truly excited about sharing their news on different platforms.

So apparently I’m not the only one geeking out about media relations today.

Above all, the overwhelming message of the forum was loud and clear for me: I am not alone. I heard it from the friends I made at my table and around the room and the speakers who represented so many industries and so many types of PR. We’ve all had great ideas but neither the adequate time nor resources to get the job done well. We’ve all dealt with public crises that we didn’t see coming. We’ve all been met with overworked and under-resourced journalists who can’t (or won’t) hear us out.  We’ve all had to deal with leadership who didn’t understand how the media work and expected us to move mountains with only a spoon to start digging. But we all love what we do. We love shaping stories, spreading our clients’ messages, and entering in the public conversation. We all have a passion for getting it right the first time. And we all have a zeal for where media relations has come from – and where it’s going.

And somehow, just knowing that – that I’m not alone – feels good.

You can find more about the forum on Twitter: @mrf. 

Technology Might Be Changing, but Media Relations Best Practices Still Apply

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

bullhornillustration_3418213772_f18071b855_o.gifAs we watch the Internet’s evolution, the introduction of mobile news, and the growth of social media, we tend to think that media relations is also changing. Not really. True, communications technology is changing, but media relations itself remains essentially the same. 

We already know the media relations basics, right? 

  1. Do your homework and research.
  2. Think like a journalist.
  3. Write a catchy headline or subject line.
  4. Know who you are pitching. 
  5. Use the K.I.S.S. method – keep it short and simple.
  6. Be honest.
  7. Know your story and why it’s newsworthy. 

Most importantly, in the words of Jon Greer, “If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about PR, it would be this: to make all press releases and PR pronouncements about the interests of readers, users and editors, not about the organization issuing the press release.”

What is changing is how we get this information in the hands of the media and the format. (Reminiscing break: remember when you used to stand at the copy machine and spent hours stuffing physical press kits with printed releases, photos with caption stickers, and any other collateral you could think of?  I sure do!) 

Now, all press releases need to be multimedia. Print publications may use a video for their website. Radio and TV stations may not only use the audio or video sound bites, but also a printed story for their website. 

Sternal Communications Understanding Marketing site recently published a PR Checklist for Media Relations to help you ensure your story is strong enough to make it through the newsroom clutter. 

What are you doing differently these days to make sure your media relations program is successful?